Troubling allegations have come to light involving Rich Dalrymple, the Cowboys’ longtime senior vice president of public relations and communications, who retired earlier this month after more than three decades with the club.
The story, reported by ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. on Wednesday, involves two separate incidents from 2015. In the first, Dalrymple is accused of spying on four Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders as they undressed inside their own locker room at the Cowboys’ home stadium. The second allegation Dalrymple is accused of is that he used his phone to capture “upskirt photographs” of Charlotte Jones Anderson, the Cowboys executive vice president and daughter of owner Jerry Jones, during the 2015 NFL draft.
“Multiple sources tell ESPN that at a kickoff luncheon on September 2 of that year,” the ESPN report states, “Dalrymple was seen by a cheerleader standing behind a partial wall inside their locker room at AT&T Stadium. The cheerleader accused him of pointing his iPhone horizontally at the women as they were changing out of their unmistakable blue and white uniforms.”
The network goes on to report the role that team owner Jerry Jones played in containing the story.
“Documents obtained by ESPN show that in 2016, team owner Jerry Jones paid the four cheerleaders and their lawyers a $2.4-million-dollar confidential settlement. As part of the agreement, the cheerleaders promised to keep quiet about the alleged incident. Three people with knowledge of the situation told ESPN shortly after the alleged incident, a Cowboys security guard wanted to report the allegation to the police, but law enforcement was never called. A team representative said the security guard never mentioned wanting to call the police in his interview with human resources later that day. According to the sources, team officials urged the four cheerleaders to report the incident to the team’s HR department, and they did. But they were unsatisfied with the resulting investigation.”
As per Van Natta, “A Cowboys representative says Dalrymple told the team he entered the locked cheerleaders’ dressing room with a security key card only to use the bathroom, and left as soon as he realized someone was there.”
A former cheerleader familiar with the incident said what happened became known to several others on the squad.
“It hurt my heart because I know how much it affected the people who were involved,” the former cheerleader said. “It was a very … ‘shut the book, don’t talk about it, this person is going to stay in his position’ … They just made it go away.”
ESPN’s bombshell report reveals that Dalrymple is also at the heart of a second disturbing claim, this one pre-dating the locker room incident for several months.
Again, from the ESPN report:
“A separate allegation involving Dalrymple centers around the April 2015 NFL draft. ESPN has obtained a sworn affidavit by a Cowboys fan who claimed, while watching a live video stream of the team’s draft war room, he noticed Dalrymple repeatedly using his phone to take what he called ‘upskirt photographs’ of Charlotte Jones Anderson, the Cowboys executive vice president and Jerry Jones’s daughter. The fan’s affidavit was presented to the Cowboys by lawyers representing the cheerleaders, and within several weeks, the Cowboys settled with them. ESPN was not able to obtain a copy or view the war room video in question. A Cowboys representative told ESPN the team had been aware of that allegation prior to the affidavit being presented by the cheerleaders’ lawyers.”
The war room claim was made in a Facebook post made by the fan as the Cowboys were about to select cornerback Byron Jones in the first round. The cheerleaders and their lawyers discovered the post months later as they searched for other evidence of misconduct or past behavior from Dalrymple.
“The team says it ‘thoroughly investigated’ both alleged incidents, including an examination of Dalrymple’s phone. The team representative said, ‘The organization took these allegations extremely seriously… The investigation was handled consistent with best legal and HR practices, and the investigation found evidence of wrongdoing.’”
That representative was Jim Wilkinson, a communications consultant for the Cowboys. Wilkinson maintains, “The most basic common sense tells you that if Jerry Jones believed in any way that someone had even remotely done something like that to any member of his family, that person would have been fired immediately.”
Just over four months later, the four cheerleaders say Dalrymple was the man they confronted in their locker room- phone in his hand- as they changed clothes.
“If any wrongdoing had been found, Rich would have been terminated immediately. Everyone involved felt just terrible about this unfortunate incident,” Wilkinson said.
ESPN states, “A disciplinary letter was placed in Dalrymple’s personnel file, but the Cowboys declined to release that letter or any details resulting from its investigation. Team owner Jerry Jones also declined to comment.”
The team does not dispute that Dalrymple used his key card to access the locker room that day using a rear entrance, never addressing attorneys’ claims that “a men’s restroom was 20 feet away.” The Cowboys revoked Dalrymple’s access to the cheerleaders’ locker room and made sweeping security changes in that area of the stadium.
The cheerleaders, their spouses, their lawyers, the four Joneses- Jerry, Stephen, Jerry Jr., and Charlotte- along with Dalrymple himself all reportedly signed an agreement in May 2016 “denying any wrongdoing and that the alleged voyeurism even took place.”
Each of the four cheerleaders allegedly received $399,523.27 as part of their settlement.
Dalrymple said he had spoken to Jones about his retirement from the Cowboys during the team’s 2021 campaign, electing to wait to walk away until after the season was over.
He was originally brought to Dallas at the recommendation of Jimmy Johnson, his coworker from the University of Miami during Johnson’s tenure as head coach there. Dalrymple announced his retirement on February 2. He was 29 when he was first hired by Jones; he’ll turn 62 later this year.
Dalrymple told ESPN, “This has nothing to do with my retirement from a long and fulfilling career, and I was only contacted about this story after I had retired.”
But as has been pointed out, Dalrymple’s retirement after 32 years with the club and inclusion in the Jones family’s inner circle was barely recognized by the Cowboys organization, with no team press release, interview quote, or even a mention on their official website.
In a statement to ESPN, Dalrymple said, “I understand the very serious nature of these claims and do not take them lightly. The accusations are, however, false. One was accidental and the other simply did not happen.”
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